Using Social Signals to Personalize Organic Search

Excerpts from my latest article at Resource Interactive’s weThink blog: “How Social Media Boosts Organic Search.”

Search engines like Google develop algorithms to determine the quality of a site’s content as well as its contextual relevance and link popularity. Site quality is a pretty nebulous concept for a piece of software to understand, but search engineers have linked social signals such as Facebook’s Likes, shares and comments, Google+’s shares, +1s and comments, and Twitter’s tweets and retweets to the quality of the page being shared. The more shares, the higher quality a page must be. There are other quality signals in play as well — hundreds of signals factor into each engine’s algorithm — but social signals are thought to be harder to manipulate than linking signals.

The most obvious way that social signals impact search results is in each individual searcher’s personalized search. For example, a Google search for “social search” returns different search results depending on whether I’m logged in to my Google account. On the left below are the search results I see when I’m logged out of Google search. On the right below are the results for the same search when I’m logged in to my Google account.

The point is that I may be the only person who will see this exact personalized search result. My circle of friends in Google+ shared 130 items relevant to the phrase “social search.” To have the same set of results, you would have to have those same 130 friends in your Google+ circles….

Read the article in full at Resource Interactive’s weThink blog »

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Originally posted on Web PieRat.